EDRS 641 Intro to Ed Research
Topic: Violence in Public Schools
The recent violence on school grounds (including elementary, middle school and high school violence) has created a climate of fear in American public schools, and the literature presented in this review relates to that fear and to the difficulty schools face in determining what students might be capable of mass killings on campus. Television coverage of school shootings leave the impression that there is more violence on school campuses than there really is, but the threat is real, students are being killed, and the background into how and why these murders take place is a main point of this paper. Moreover, the acts of violence at schools create perceptions that may or may not be valid, and that issue is part of this literature review as well. Perceptions of School Violence
Why do Americans have the perception that schools are places where violence takes place on a regular basis – when that is not truly the case? A scholarly article in the peer-reviewed journal The Clearing House points to the fact that when there are highly publicized acts of brutal violence at schools, because of the bold, up-close-and-personal video reports on television sets across the nations, the rare acts of violence stick in the minds of Americans. The article explains that there are upwards of 55 million students attending public schools in the United States today, including from kindergarten through 12th grade (Algozzine, et al, 2011), and obviously not all schools are places where killings take place. And moreover, “…reports of school crime and violence” from administrators, students, and teachers “…differ in severity and in nature from what is perceived” by the greater society (Algozzine, 91). The salient point this paper presents is that Americans perceive that schools (per se) are not safe, Algozzine explains (91). The authors research existing studies of administrators, teachers, and students, to tap into their perceptions of exactly how much violence they witness or personally experience in public schools. A credible survey by several authors (Sprague, Smith, and Steiber, 2002) points out that principals in public schools “…perceived schools to be safe” (Algozzine, 92). Administrators reported that up to 80 percent of their problems (discipline referrals) result from “…ineffective classroom management on the part of teachers” (Algozzine, 92). As for teachers, a recent study (Smith and Smith, 2006) reflects that their “…perceptions of violence…influenced their decision to leave” and go to schools that are less chaotic; the abuses teachers reported include drugs and weapons in schools and teachers also leave because of their perception that community violence had “…seeped into the school” and hence, it was time to leave (Algozzine, 92). Meanwhile, studies involving middle school students show they are not as concerned about gun violence as they are about bullying and being “…victimized at school” (Algozzine, 93). Research conducted by Hughes, Middleton, and Marshall (2009) reflects that about 15 percent of students surveyed “…reported being bullied often or daily” and that girls were more frightened of bullying than boys and younger students were more concerned about bullying than older students (Algozzine, 93). Parents’ concerns and perceptions were along the same lines as the teachers’ perceptions; parents that stay in touch with teachers and listen to teachers’ issues, know that the main interfering actions that disrupt schools aren’t killings and shootings. Rather, according to Ashford (2001) parents understand that 80 percent of all problems teachers deal with are “nonviolent infractions” of rules (profanity, disruptive behavior, tardiness, etc.); the other 20 percent generally involves bullying (Algozzine, 93). School Violence from Students’ Perceptions
Bibliography: Algozzine, Bob, and McGee, Jennifer R. (2011). Reported Occurrence and Perceptions of
Violence in Middle and High Schools
Benbenishty, Rami, and Astor, Ron Avi. (2005). School Violence in Context: Culture,
Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender
Benchley, Cameron. (2013). President Obama’s Plan to Make Our Schools Safer.
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Chapin, John. (2008). Youth Perceptions of Their School Violence Risks. Adolescence,
Espelage, Dorothy L., and Swearer, Susan M. (2004). Bullying in North American
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Busters: A Teacher’s Manual for Helping Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders.
Lebrun, Marcel. (2009). Books, Blackboards, and Bullets. New York: Rowman &
National School Safety Center. (1993). Weapons in Schools / NSSC Resource Paper.
Newman, Katherine S. (2004). Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings. New
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Pellegrini, Anthony D., and Van Ryzin, Mark J. (2004). “Part of the Problem and Part
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Smith, Deborah L., and Smith, Brian J. (2006). Perceptions of Violence: The Views of
Teachers Who left Urban Schools
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Columbine: Capturing Student Perspectives to Understand Noncompliance and
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